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Naches has big plans for Cleman’s View Sports Park

Naches spire - a local landmark A conservative but forward thinking town, says chamber president Juette


Naches Chamber of Commerce President Randy Juette pronounces his name "Jewitt," even though the French pronunciation is "Ju-ay," he said.

That's the way it is in Naches. Just plain folk who appreciate the quality of life a small town offers, who love the closeness of the mountains, and work together to build business and plan events.

You get the sense of a town where the pace is relaxed. But behind the scenes, people are rolling up their sleeves making things happen.

"We're up for a Grant from the Forest Service," Juette said. "One of our main pushes is to put in an amphitheater." [In
2003 Jeff Ranger applied for and received a $50,000 Rural Community Assistance grant from the Forest Service for the Naches Depot, trail design and engineering. Naches has also received a Community Action Plan grant from the Forest Service for $25,000.]

Juette quickly explained that it won't be so much an amphitheater as a performance venue. "It'll be in Mount Cleman's Sports Park," he said. Mount Cleman forms the backdrop for this Upper Valley town, which is nestled at the base of the mountain as the gateway to the Cascades.

Cleman's View Sports Park has considerable development already. It has three little league ball parks, one junior league park, a concession stand, and an events hall. And there are dugouts for the ball fields.

"Jeff Ranger practically built it himself," Juette said of the Naches city administrator.

"Now we want to add a nice stage for concerts and other events," he said. "And we plan to add soccer fields to the west."

Juette said it's important to have infrastructure in place – electricity and water, "places we can plug in people." And that's all part of the Cleman's View Sports Park comprehensive plan.

He said the complex draws teams and tournaments from all over the Valley, particularly, of course, from the Selah-Naches area and Yakima.

Another big weekend in Naches is the annual Sportsman's Days. It's held at the school grounds and Juette said they'd eventually like to move it to Cleman's Sports Park. It's held the second weekend in September.

"With the new performance facility in place, we hope to have three or four major events a year–spring, summer and fall," Juette said.

"Like a jazz festival, for instance."

Historic train depot in NachesWith Naches on the route to both Chinook Pass and White Pass, there is considerable traffic through town in both directions. Tapping into that traffic is part of what drives commerce in Naches, but they'd like to capture more business from travelers and tourists.

That's why Juette and other Naches business people feel it's important to develop more activities and events.

"We have a lot of rafters up here for Flip Flop, and there's nothing for them to do," he said.

Flip Flop refers to when the water is released from Rimrock in September and October and flows down the Naches River.

The improvements at Cleman's Park are part of that strategy. Juette would also like to see the town develop park and ride services to the rafting areas, the White Pass Ski Area, to the other points of interest.

And near the elk feeding at the Oak Park Station there is a big horn sheep feeding station, too.

"When they ride back through town, we would hope they'd say, hey, there's a nice restaurant, or let's check out some of these shops."

Another project is in the downtown area. "Jeff Ranger is trying to set aside money and obtain grants to restore the train depot.

"Part of that project would be to build a big public restroom facility behind the station and RV parking."

Signage on the highway would point the way to the facility.

The chamber is developing a website; you can find it at. www.nachesvalleychamber.com. "We'll have an events calendar, a relocation page, links to members, businesses, the Forest Service, and the city. We want to get us much information on it as possible and keep it fresh," he said.

A relocation page refers to information people need who might like to relocate to Naches. The owner of RJ’s Tire & Auto Center, Juette built a new facility for his business in 2002. Others like him are investing in their city.

The town has a relatively new event it started in 2001, the Harvest Dinner and Pie Auction.

"It's surprising at how much the pies go for," he said. "One I sold for $95." The the chamber also invites an auctioneer who also plays the guitar to the event. The committee figured it was a bargain to get an auctioneer and entertainment in one body.

After accepting the gig, the guy failed to show up both times.

"The first time it was snow. He lives in Cle Elum," Juette said. "The second time he had to work late in Seattle and got hung up in traffic, but he was afraid to call my secretary and tell her after not showing up the year before," Juette laughed.

Juette did the auctioneering, but doesn't know how to play the guitar, so they went without entertainment.

Juette thinks Naches has a lot going for it.

"We're close to great fishing and hunting, a premier ski area, we have blue ribbon schools. We're a conservative but forward thinking town," he said. For more information about Naches, you can contact one of the following:

Randy Juette, Naches Chamber of Commerce president, at 509-653-2165
Jeff Ranger, city administrator email: naches@ewa.net
Charles Ross, mayor at 509-653-2647 email: townofnachesadm@aol.com

Source: Yakima Valley Business Journal, December, 2004
Selah Naches Community Profile
A Business Journal Focus Series on the Business Climate of Yakima Valley Cities and Towns
Used with permission.
For more information, contact Jim Flint at flintpub@yahoo.com





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